This statement was authored by members of Tufts Climate Action, a group calling for their university to divest Tufts’ endowment from the fossil fuel industry.
We, the 33 Tufts students and alumni of Tufts Climate Action, are on our second day of occupying President Monaco’s office. After over two years of campaigning, we are here to demand that Tufts’ divest its 80 million dollars in fossil fuels, an industry that will cause 100 million deaths worldwide by 2030 from climate devastation and pollution in low-income areas and communities of color.
We know we are on the right side of history, and that Board Chairman Peter Dolan, President Monaco and the Tufts administration can never justify profiting off of climate injustice. Yet, instead of facing the realities of their immoral investments, the administration is refusing our ask for a public dialogue with Chairman Dolan and the Board. They are also no longer allowing any food into the building, attempting to “starve us out.” This response from the administration to students who are simply asking for an endowment that doesn’t kill people and destroy our own future, is unjustified and shameful.
Tomorrow morning at 12PM in Balou Hall office, we are hosting a public press conference and community meeting to bring this issue out of the shadows and into the open. There is a chance the administration will refuse anyone entry into Ballou hall, but even trying would be a powerful show of support. We would love to see you, even if from the windows of Monaco’s office.
For those who are just joining us: we are not sitting in because it’s fun. We are doing this because we have been left no other option for meaningful dialogue on divestment. We started this campaign back in September of 2012, and have attempted to work through every possible administrative channel. First, we showed popular support with a referendum in which 74% of voters favored divestment. In tandem, a student government divestment resolution was passed 24 to 1. Then we tried contacting President Monaco and the Tufts Board of Trustees to discuss divestment, but we were met with closed doors, and unanswered emails and phone calls. After continuing this pressure, President Monaco finally established a working group to “examine divestment”. This committee was set up to fail. We were not allowed to bring in unbiased financial experts, nor were we allowed to make public the findings of the committee. Instead of actually investigating the feasibility of divestment, the Investment Committee went into the process trying to disprove divestment from the beginning, and set up their findings to do just that.
So here we sit, a year later, in President Monaco’s office, refusing to be stonewalled by the administration yet again. By investing in fossil fuels, Tufts continues to profit off of the exploitation and devastation of the people who did the least to cause the climate crisis — poor communities of color around the world. As the climate crisis worsens each day, whose side will Tufts be on? That of the fossil fuel industry and climate profiteers, or that of climate justice and the renewable energy future we need? We make that vote with our 1.6 billion dollar endowment. We cannot claim to stand for global “active citizenship” with one hand, while profiting off global climate chaos with the other.
Tufts’ refusal to divest from this rogue industry is based on unstable assumptions. One is that the fossil fuel industry will continue to turn enormous profits as people are protesting and blockading its infrastructure and operations. Meanwhile, alternative energy industries have for the first time surpassed fossil fuels in their annual production. Already, protests have cost the tar sands industry 17 billion dollars. Tufts is already late to the right side of history: the side that is helping ensure the eclipse of the fossil fuel industry by alternative energy industries.
That is why we are sitting in President Monaco’s office, refusing to leave until Tufts lives up to its name and its values and stops actively supporting such devastating destruction to earth and everyone who lives in it.
Join this growing movement, and help make sure that Tufts ends up on the right side of history.